Northern Ireland

'Threat issued' against Belfast Lord Mayor Finucane

John Finucane at Belfast City Hall Image copyright PA
Image caption John Finucane said he would be a mayor for all of Belfast's citizens

Belfast's new Lord Mayor, John Finucane, has said police have warned him loyalists were planning to attack him at his home.

The Sinn Féin councillor received the chains of office on Tuesday.

The 39-year-old said police came to his house and informed him of the threat later on that night.

He is the same age as his father - the murdered Catholic solicitor, Pat Finucane - was when he was shot dead by loyalists during the Troubles.

He was a high-profile solicitor who lived and worked in Belfast and convicted members of the IRA were among his clients.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Pat Finucane was shot dead in front of his wife and children while eating Sunday dinner at their north Belfast home in 1989

John Finucane said the threat was not just to him, but to democracy as well.

"I am committed to serving and representing all the people of this city and I will not be deterred from that by threats from anyone," he said.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland said it did not discuss the security of individuals.

"However, if we receive information that a person's life may be at risk, we will inform them accordingly," said a police statement.

"We never ignore anything which may put an individual at risk."

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly said the potential attack on Mr Finucane's family home "was clearly deliberate, given this is where his father was murdered by loyalists".

On Wednesday, Mr Finucane greeted the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall on a visit to the fire-damaged Primark building in Belfast.

In the past, some members of Sinn Féin have been reluctant to meet the Royal Family but, before his installation, he said he would have "no difficulty" in meeting its members.

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